The killing of an Indian-origin man shows the worst and the best of America — the undercurrent of bigotry and the heroism and the generosity, which are often the dominant traits.
A 24-year-old man rushed to overpower the gunman, who shot dead Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injured Alok Madasani, and himself took several bullets in the Wednesday night attack at a bar in Olathe, Kansas state.
Civil rights organisation, Hindu American Foundation (HAF), said: “It is these acts of heroism in our communities that make America great.”
Ian Grillot, who has been hailed a hero, brushed off the accolades.
“I did what anyone should do for another human being,” The Kansas City Star showed him saying in a video recorded at his hospital bed.
“It is not about where he’s from or his ethnicity.”
Grillot was injured in the neck, chest, vertebrae and hand by shooter Adam Purinton, a former Navy serviceman.
A stranger who had never met the two Indian-origin men has started a fund-raising campaign for them.
Brian Eric Ford, 39, set up an account on the online site GoFundMe for raising funds, jointly for the family of Kuchibhotla and Madasani.
“I’ve been pretty closely following since the election the rise in white nationalism,” the Kansas City graphic artist told The Star.
“I thought this was a chance to do something to show support for these communities that are being attacked.”
As of Thursday night, 816 people had contributed $29,726 to the fund, which has a target of $50,000.
Another GoFundMe account set up for Kuchibhotla’s family by Kavipriya Muthuramalingam raised $217,440 from 5,843 people by Thursday night, exceeding the goal of $150,000.
Kuchibhotla is survived by his wife Sunayana, according to the GoFundMe page.
Purinton was on Thursday arrested in Clinton city in neighbouring Missouri state after a bartender reported to police that the man said he had killed “two Middle Easterns” and was looking for a place to hide, the Star quoted the local police as saying.
Before the shooting, Purinton made racist comments and told the two engineers to “get out of my country”, according to witnesses.
“Clearly there was some racial motivation,” Ford, a witness, told the Star.
HAF called the attack a “hate crime” and although it had all the hallmarks of a bias attack, authorities have not labelled it one, asserting they were still investigating the angle.
Purinton has been charged with pre-meditated murder and attempted murder.